Teeth & Mouths Provide Clues to Overall Health

We all know a trip to the dentist is necessary for maintaining oral health and hygiene. But did you know your dentist may find clues in your teeth and mouth that are indicators for other aspects of your health?

Your teeth, mouth & gums can say a lot about your overall health.  In fact, many dentists help spot warning signs of major diseases:

Diabetes:  research has found that taking a sample of blood from the mouth is just as effective as screening for diabetes as a finger prick. Because many Americans live with diabetes undiagnosed, a trip to the dentist may save many Americans by catching it earlier and preventing complications:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Eye damage
  • Foot damage
  • Skin conditions
  • Hearing impairment
  • Alzheimer's

Moreover, diabetes-related dental issues include dry mouth, thrush, tooth decay, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), and periodontitis (gum infection).  WebMD

Strokes:  Research found a correlation between chronic periodontist (gum infection) and lacunars infarct (a brain vessel which can lead to strokes). Both diseases are common in the elderly.  As a result, identifying chronic periodontal disease in elderly patients can be a step towards preventative measures against lacunars infarct.   WebMD

Heart Disease:  Hidden tooth infections may predispose people to Heart Disease.  The risk of cardiovascular disease may increase with an infection of the root tip of a tooth -- something that's common but easily identified with an annual exam.   Treatment of an infected tooth may reduce this risk.  WebMD

Esophageal Cancer :  medical researchers found a link between Oral Bacteria and Esophageal Cancer.  A bacterial species responsible for gum disease is present in 61% of patients with esophageal squamous cell .

Pancreatic Cancer: A risk for Pancreatic Cancer is tied to specific mouth bacteria. The presence of certain bacteria in the mouth may reveal increased risk for pancreatic cancer and enable earlier, more precise treatment

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can prevent many diseases, but the care of your teeth and gums can have a greater effect on more than just the health of your mouth. Furthermore, a trip to the dentist may help prevent or treat a disease that is completely unrelated to oral health!

Jean Piper, DDS has been managing oral health for years.  Her practice is conveniently located close to Hilldale Mall on Regent Street, Madison Wisconsin.

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